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5
Avoid Scams

"You can make $70,000 a year from home just by surfing the Internet!"

Have you come across claims like that in your job search? Fortunately, there's something about such statements that screams fraud to most of us. There are, however, more subtle scams awaiting job hunters. To protect yourself from scam artists preying on eager job hunters, look for these red flags:

  • Calls from people posing as employers and asking for your Social Security number so that they can run a background check on you. Companies should not need this information until farther along in the interview process -- never up front.
  • Work-at-home proposals, many of which are popping up on Twitter these days, which require you to put up some of your own money in order to get started. Never give out your credit card number or bank account number to gain a job.
  • Companies offering instructional materials that will help you land a government job. Often, the materials are phony or don't exist, and they are just a ploy to gain your credit card number. For legitimate information on government jobs, go straight to the source: www.usajobs.opm.gov.

[source: Lankford]

Job scam artists are able to gain much of the information they have on you -- including your employment aspirations, your e-mail address and your home phone number -- from any online résumé you may have posted. This makes it easier for them to trick you into thinking they're a legitimate employer. Fortunately, most job search engines offer security features, such as a confidential e-mail account through which a company can contact you.

Keep reading for more helpful information on how to market yourself.

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